Leadership through Eyes of a Coach...Alan Booth

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do You Know Randy?

Senior leaders I have known for years thought I should think seriously about publishing my coaching experiences as they would learn from them. So here is my first "case study":


Randy, the top executive at his company, called me because “the lack of accountability of my people is impacting our growth…and causing me growing stress”.

Do you know Randy? He is a passionate hands-on leader, highly directive with little patience for discussions that attempt to change his mind about how to grow his company.

The paradox trap: the harder he works to get his people more focused on priorities (his), the less the results. Emphasis is on “his” priorities, not necessarily those of his team!
Causing Greater Individual and Team Accountability

So…to increase accountability, is the solution around “them” or is it “me”? In the end, Randy discovered that he was as much a part of the problem as his people were! What we did:

[1] For Randy to understand what it is like to work for him, we interviewed each of his direct reports around 10 leadership qualities and asked, “To achieve your goals, what one thing do you need from Randy?” Two feedback points:

■ He proudly accepted being labeled a micro-manager
■ Being classified as a card carrying poor listener caused him to admit that maybe “I don’t know what I don’t know”

[2] Facilitated discussions with his direct reports around accelerating growth, surfaced issues never put on the table before…but critical to causing greater accountability and action. Some of Randy’s progress:

■ “When I reject new ideas, I might be too quick to think through, needing to hold on to my own strategies. I now understand why this can stop ideas from coming to me”
■ “Meeting participation is less than productive because I take 80% of the voice time…I can change that.” Actually I strong armed him to stop attending certain meetings.

Post meeting debriefs gradually helped Randy recognize: to get what he wants, he needs to also change, especially in modeling what he wants from his people.

So he ended up with more time on his hands…and more time for golf is a good thing when key customers are teeing off (and not being teed off as before!). And 15% annual growth to boot.
Alan Booth – Gilman Performance Systems, Inc. 203.454.3502